How Alan Killed His Cat

1. Natasha When Alan was eight years old, he killed his cat and spent the rest of his life trying to figure out if it was an accident or not. When Alan asked for a pet kitten, his parents, naturally, refused. “You’re too young,” they said. “You’d kill it.” “No I won’t – I promise!”…

Fathers & Ferries, Birthdays & Boats

When my Cub Scout den mate Marc Brownstein turned 9, his birthday party consisted of a ride on the Circle Line, a day cruise around Manhattan. It was the best day ever. I begged for a similar party when I turned 9 the following spring. Dad took a “We’ll see” position. By April, I understood…

Second Worst Vacation Ever

“Now, this RV has no parking brake — I know; don’t ask — so be real careful, and use this.” He handed me a nail-studded scrap of 2×4 bearing the words “EM. BRAKE” scratched in red ink. “Stick this under the wheel,” he said, and I knew my vacation was doomed. My wife’s boss Tim…